Workshops and Presentations

June 5th, 6th, and 7th will all be comprised of speakers and workshops. See below for an overview of each day’s workshop options, keeping in mind that each workshop will be offered in both the morning and afternoon. As a participant, you will be asked to choose two different workshop for each day that you are registered.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

LEGO Education Symposium Day 1: Today’s workshops will be focused around teaching methods and learning opportunities afforded by different LEGO Education products. Workshop offerings range from WeDo products and early elementary education to innovative applications of the LEGO EV3 and MINDSTORMS.

Tuesday Keynote Speakers To Be Announced
Client-Centered Design With LEGO

Target Grades: K-12


Engineers don’t just design products for themselves; often, the solution solves problems within a real-world context and for a specific client that can be vastly different from themselves. This hands-on workshop will place an emphasis around designing for a client and the value of empathy in the design process, and how this can be incorporated into classroom activities to create a more engaging and authentic engineering experience.


Using LEGO to Support Students in Developing Social and Vocational Skills

Target Grades: K-12


This workshop will explore the challenges and opportunities in creating a collaborative environment with healthy social dynamics during hands-on activities. Best practices for cultivating an inclusive and collaborative environment for all types of learners will be discussed. The workshop facilitators will also share their insights from a study around doing LEGO engineering activities with students with autism spectrum disorder.

Robotics in STEAM

Target Grades: K-3


Robotics provides an exciting way for primary students to get engaged in integrated STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) learning. This session will cover innovative ideas for using the WeDo 2.0 set to provide hands-on opportunities for early elementary students to explore coding, STEAM, and creative learning. Get inspired with new ways to integrate WeDo 2.0 robotics into your classroom!

LEGO and the Maker Movement

Target Grades: K-8


As teachers incorporate more hands-on making activities into their classrooms, the use of LEGO products can provide an easy tool for students to create personally meaningful maker projects. In this hands-on workshop, participants will explore the learning opportunities that are possible through making and experience what role LEGO plays in the Maker Movement. The workshop will also highlight LEGO Education’s new, free Maker Activities.

LEGO and Literacy

Target Grades: K-8


Novel Engineering research has shown that teachers and students find their classroom texts provide a rich ground for engaging in engineering design, in addition to supporting and deepening literacy engagement and comprehension. In the Novel Engineering framework, students use the text to identify the clients and problems, scope constraints surrounding problems using evidence from the book, and design and build solutions. In this hands-on workshop, participants will work in groups through a Novel Engineering project based on an excerpt from a book using LEGO. Not recommended if already participating in the Novel Engineering workshop on June 6th.

Integrating LEGO and STEM for Middle Schoolers

Target Grades: 4-8

This hands-on workshop will explore activities that leverage LEGO in unique ways to teach core concepts in math and the sciences for middle school students. Leveraging LEGO Education’s free lessons, this workshop will demonstrate how hands-on activities can encourage students’ engagement in fundamental STEM concepts.

LEGO EV3 Programming Environments

Target Grades: 5-12

This workshop explores alternative programming environments that can be used with the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3. Different programming languages afford new opportunities for unique coding experiences and reinforcing computational thinking in the classroom curriculum. Participants will learn about new ways of controlling the EV3 and have hands-on opportunities to experience the environments themselves.

Advanced Play with MINDSTORMS

Target Grades: 6-12

This hands-on session allows participants to push the boundaries of how the LEGO EV3 can be used in the classroom. Led by the EDGErs (teachers who support the LEGO Engineering Community), explorations will include more advanced ways of interacting with the LEGO tools and using the products for teaching more advanced topics. Recommended to have some previous EV3 experience, but not required.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

LEGO Education Symposium Day 2, Tufts STEM Education Conference Day 1: Today will offer a blend of interactive workshops that span a wide range of  topics in STEM education. Some workshops will explore opportunities afforded by LEGO in the classroom and after school setting while others concern different engineering curriculum frameworks and software (i.e. ScratchJr and Visual Classrooms).

Wednesday Keynote Speakers

Morning keynote:  Prof. Kristen Wendell of Tufts Department of Mechanical Engineering

Afternoon keynote: Prof. Daniele Lantange of Tufts Department of Civil Engineering

LEGO Six Bricks- Using Manipulatives to Develop Critical Thinking and Learning Skills

Target Grades: K-2


Six Bricks is a hands-on tool for learning. Through fun and short activities with sets of LEGO DUPLO bricks in six bright colours, children can practice their memory, movement, creativity, and more. Activities can be adapted to match the children’s skills and interests and to teach specific learning goals in the classroom. This session covers the Six Bricks style of learning and has participants engage in several short engaging activities to learn the methodology.

Learning Through Play in STEM

Target Grades: K-5


This workshop will explore the connections between play and learning by understanding the following concepts. What is play? We will identify the key characteristics of play. What’s so special about play? We will look into how play affects learning. What’s the connection between play and STEM? A implementation of a hands-on example of how a playful approach affects learning of specific STEM skills.


Target Grades: 5-12


This workshop is ideal for participants who are new to MINDSTORMS and/or curious to see how it can be introduced into their classrooms. This introductory workshop will explore the getting started experience with LEGO MINDSTORMS and how it can be used in STEM learning.

LEGO Robotics in Afterschool/Informal Settings

Target Grades: 5-12


This workshop is ideal for participants who are new to the LEGO robotics systems and are curious to learn different instructional pathways for after school and enrichment programs (LEGO tinkering, maker spaces, design engineering, and competitive robotics). Participants will also engage in a fun, hands-on getting started experience with LEGO MINDSTORMS.

Learning to Program in Early Childhood using ScratchJr

Target Grades: PreK-2


ScratchJr is a free programming app for children ages 5-7 designed to teach basic coding concepts and computational thinking skills. Using graphical programming blocks, children can create their own imaginative stories and games. In this session, participants will get a hands-on lesson on how to use ScratchJr and how to teach coding in a playful, developmentally appropriate way.

The ScratchJr programming app was created as a collaboration between the DevTech Research Group at Tufts University and MIT’s Lifelong Kindergarten Group.

Encouraging Authentic Collaboration through Student Documentation

Target Grades: 5-12


Join us for a session that provides a deep dive into exploring how to develop a culture of authentic collaboration within the classroom. Come away with new skills and tools for immediate use in your classroom! Topics to include: how to utilize design journals for documentation, foster discussions using cloud based active learning platforms, and a case scenario.

Students Doing Science: Case Studies of Disciplinary Engagement

Target Grades: K-12

The goal of this workshop is to present a set of video cases of students’ scientific engagement in classrooms. These examples will serve as a basis for discussion on what it means to “do science” in classrooms and how students’ scientific engagement gets started and sustained. In this symposium, we present 4 exemplary cases of students’ scientific engagement to start a conversation around these two issues.

Approaches to Design Exploration

Target Grades: 5-12


Exploration and play with material can be an excellent way to begin designing and allow for open minded investigation. In this workshop, participants will be asked to complete a design study with paper, using biomimicry as inspiration that addresses topics such as form and volume, line and space, modulation and repetition.

Novel Engineering

Target Grades: K-8

Novel Engineering (NE), a NSF-funded project at Tufts Center for Engineering Education and Outreach, engages students in grades 1-8 in engineering by using books as the context for client-centered, open-ended design challenges. Novel Engineering research has shown that teachers and students find their classroom texts provide a rich ground for engaging in engineering design, in addition to supporting and deepening literacy engagement and comprehension. NE can be used with fiction and non-fiction, which allows students to identify character-clients and problems, scope constraints surrounding problems, and design and build solutions. In this hands-on, interactive workshop, participants will get an introduction to Novel Engineering and then work in groups to work through a Novel Engineering project based on an excerpt from a book. Not recommended if already participating in the “LEGO and Literacy” workshop on June 5th.

Community-Based Engineering

Target Grades: 1-6


Learn about how to design community-based engineering activities for your classroom. We’ll go over past project curriculums, talk about how to integrate science inquiry, and finish with brainstorming ideas for your own classroom and school. Using examples from our research project, we’ll share methods of how to choose problems and how to have conversations with students if they are choosing problems. We’ll also share the collection of materials, our portable maker studio, that we assembled to complete these types of projects.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Tufts STEM Education Conference Day 2: Today’s workshop offerings span across exploration of unique STEM curricula, tools, and approaches developed at Tufts University as well as two different workshops in designing makerspaces.

Thursday Key Note Speakers

Morning Keynote: Prof. Barbara Brizuela of Tufts Department of Education

Afternoon Keynote: Prof. Moon Duchin of Tufts Department of Mathematics

KIBO Robotics

Target Grades: PreK-2

The KIBO robot is a technology designed by the DevTech Research Group at Tufts University which promotes the acquisition of programming skills in children 4-7 years of age. KIBO is an award-winning and internationally recognized educational platform which provides a completely off-screen coding experience. Join us for a hands-on KIBO robotics workshop that is both playful and informative for teaching young children how to program using a tangible coding language. Attendees will be able to program their own KIBO robot and will learn about how robotics can be integrated into many different subjects, especially art, music, culture, and dance!

Sound Science: Designing Rubber Band Musical Instruments

Target Grades: 2-12


In this workshop, you will start by experimenting with how to control the pitch of a musical string by changing the length, thickness, and tension of the rubber bands. We’ll then explore how music is amplified by making our own speakers from scratch and adding contact microphones to your rubber band instruments. The workshop will end with everybody performing the most beautiful piece of music that the world has ever heard on their rubber band instrument (or something like that).

Makerspaces and Maker Education in Early Childhood

Target Grades: PreK-2

In this workshop, participants will explore makerspace education for early childhood, and learn about key elements for designing makerspaces for this age range. Then, they’ll engage in hands-on play with a variety of developmentally-appropriate maker tools and technologies. Participants will leave with resources for developing their own maker-themed educational activities.

Supporting Iteration and Decision-Making in Design Tasks

Target Grades: K-6


Participants will work on and engage with a variety of design tasks and debrief how different kinds of tasks support different kinds of engineering learning. We will emphasize in particular the opportunities tasks present for frequent iteration and design failure. We will share strategies for helping elementary students engage in collaborative sense-making and decision-making based on their design iterations.

Designing Biomimetic Robots

Target Grades: 5-8


In this workshop, we will use the power of biomimetics, or biologically-inspired design, to integrate life science learning into an engineering design process. Participants will explore the relationships between biological structures and functions for several organisms. After drawing design principles from this biology research, participants will have the opportunity to build a biomimetic robot for use in a search and rescue scenario. We will use Hummingbird robotics kits. Workshop facilitators will also share about a new biomimetic robotics middle school project that Tufts has launched with TERC and schools in Maryland and New England.

Re-Making STEM: Computational Making with Craft Materials

Target Grades: 6-12


Participants in this workshop will explore ideas of computation and computational thinking through “making”, where the design and manipulation of familiar materials to produce mechanical artifacts opens up space to think about computation away from computers. Participants will explore making with craft materials, and think about how their processes relate to computational thinking frameworks and how they map onto disciplinary content and practices from math, science, and engineering.

Designing a Makerspace

Target Grades: 3-8


This workshop will involve discussions around the potential roles makerspaces in formal education, establishing community values and buy-in around the space, and exploring potential materials and activities that align with your community’s goals.

Students Solving Problems through Creating Mobile Applications

Target Grades: 5-12


Thunkable is a mobile app platform that enables anyone, from kids to adults, to easily create smartphone applications. Thunkable is collaborating with Tufts University on NSF-sponsored research to explore how the Thunkable tools can be used in the classroom to enable students to solve real-world problems through app creation.  In this workshop, teachers will learn how to use Thunkable to engage learners in the design, implementation, and testings of mobile apps while linking to not only computational thinking content but also collaboration, community engagement, and problem solving skills.

Microbe Hunters!: An Inquiry-Based Approach to Teaching Science

Target Grades: 3- 5


Our goal is to illustrate science exercises that emphasize the scientific method and take advantage of the students’ natural curiosity. In this hands-on workshop, we’ll lead you on an investigation of organisms that are unfamiliar and invisible to the naked eye. During our microbiology investigation, we’ll make connections among science, math and health.